Review: Tannus Aither 1.1 Solid Tyres

There aren't many things more dampening to your spirit, than being stood at the side of the road, fixing a puncture; especially in the cold, wet and dark weather of the UK winter. However good your tyres are, eventually you'll inevitably end up getting that deflated feeling.

Tannus is a Korean company that for 10 years has been developing a product that could completely eliminate the chance of a puncture... a solid foam tyre. I was handed a set of the latest Tannus Aither 1.1 Tyres to test a month ago, and after several pothole induced punctures this winter already, I was keen to see how they would fair on my commuter.


Fitting

The Tannus tyres are available in both a 26 inch moutain bike version, and a variety of 700c road/touring options. I had a set of the 23c Aither 1.1s, and fitted them up on some Mavic CXP22 rims - my usual commuting option. 

The tyres fit to the rims using a multitude of plastic pegs, which snap into the rim bead and then hold the tyre in place. A variety of widths of plastic pegs are supplied, to fit a variety of rim widths. Included in the fitting pack is one of the world's largest plastic tyre levers, which doubles up as a means to push in the pegs, and also allows you to lever the tight fitting tyre onto the rim.

It was a significant wrestling match to get the tyre onto the rim in the first instance, and I found the best option was just to roll it onto the rim; then rotate is round so the pegs were facing inwards, once it was on there. Once the tyre is on though, the pegs push into the rim with ease, and make quite a reassuring clicking sound once they've engaged with the rim's bead. They shouldn't be coming off in a hurry, that's for sure.


Questionable Sizing 

Something worth noting, which for me is quite significant... these tyres come up small, very small. I normally run 28c tyres on my commuter, to help spread the load of a pannier rack on the back; so going down to 23c was always going to be a significant reduction in volume. However, on measuring the Tannus Aither 1.1 with callipers, they in fact measure closer to 21c in width; that's a huge reduction in the amount of shock absorption you can expect.

Comfort and Performance

The first thing you'll notice after fitting the Tannus Aither 1.1, is that is feels pretty hard. I think the nearest comparison in a pneumatic tyre, would be pumping up a 21c 60 TPI (a small volume, high rubber content) tyre to 120 PSI. In essence, it's not the most forgiving ride.

The hardness has an effect on cornering too, and for the first few rides it took some time to get used to the lack of "shoulder" to 'lean on', which you get with a standard bike tyre. With these, it is a bit more of a sudden change in traction, as you move off the centre strip of the tyre.

Aside from the hard ride and questionable cornering, the Tannus Aither 1.1 doesn't feel too bad. Friction isn't noticeably more than a set of normal tyres, and they roll pretty well. Their weight isn't bad either, coming in at just over 390 grams; which isn't drastically different from a rim strip, tube and winter tyre combo (you'll also save on the weight of that additional tube, pump and tyre levers in your saddlebag).

Verdict

Taken as a complete package, the Tannus Aither 1.1s are different from a pneumatic tyre, that's for sure.

Comfort isn't great, grip and performance leave room for improvement, and fitting is a bit of a struggle. That said, for those that want a truly fit-and-forget solution to riding their bike around city streets full of potential puncture threats, and for those that are able to have them pre-fitted to wheels, these could present a real winner. You could ditch the inner tube, tyre levers and pump in your back pocket, and just get to your destination without the chance of getting stuck out fixing a flat.

Will I be converting to using Tannus on my regular commute? I'm unsure. There have undoubtedly been a few times in the last few weeks, that I've thought "thank goodness that wasn't a normal tyre", as I hit a pothole that would normally have caused an instant pinch flat. However, the roads that I have to ride on, with their broken surface and constant corners, don't seem to make for a particularly great partnership with solid tyres. If I lived in Central London, and I was riding 5 miles each way to work, through debris strewn streets, I think I might seriously consider them.

Tannus Tyres are available at Wiggle (Link)

Comments

  1. I bought these tyres a month ago, Tannus Aither 1.1. I really wanted to like them, to avoid a puncture forever... however after 400 miles and £120, I'm going back to my continental hardshell. I don't mind the loss in speed and performance, as I'm not a racer but I found the Tannus extremely uncomfortable for a city ride (London), you feel absolutely every vibration, every bump and even signs painted on the road, they are so hard my back mudguard snapped in two when going through a bump, that bump is no new to my bike as I go through it everyday on my daily commute.... You realise what a good suspension air tyres are… When I stopped enjoying my daily ride is when I decided to go back to AIR…and today after a month suffering on solid tyres I'm rolling, and smiling,.. on my good all continentals :-) Other things to consider is how hard is to fit them in or remove them, definitely worth paying someone to do it for you if you are thinking in buying a pair. Definitely try before you buy.

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  2. Hi there, I think that your comments are valid, and follow my experience also. I am still running the solid Tannus tyre on the rear of my commuting bike, but only because I seem to have become accustom to the harder ride. For some, it will certainly be too hard, and especially on UK road conditions, it is quite unforgiving. For me though, on debris strewn roads, with multiple potholes; the reduced risk of getting caught out with a puncture on the ride home from work is worth the harder ride. Very true on fitting :-) they are a real struggle!

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  3. 23c is only for road in good conditions, for city commutes go for the 28c its a whole new world.. unbeatable

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    Replies
    1. Could you measure the height of the 28s please? I really want 25 but they are of course not made and I want to know if 28 will fit my frame. Clearance on Schwalbe Duranos, 25, is the limit but they size up big anyway. Rim outer edge to tread top.

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    2. I'd be interested in that measurement as well. If they do come up smaller than 'normal' 28c tyres they might fit on the old steel frame I'm using to build up a town bike. Cheers!

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  4. Very good product. I happy have this tannus tires.

    ReplyDelete

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